No, I’m not hungover. Yes, I have slept recently.

One of the funny things about Celiac Disease is that a person can develop other disorders, intolerances, etc.

Ok, that’s not really funny, but I’m trying to find some humor in this :)

Since I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I have had the worst dry eyes in my life. I am optically challenged, so I must wear contacts or glasses. If I wear contacts for more than 15 minutes, I feel as though there are shards of glass embedded in my eyes. Needless to say, I don’t wear contacts very often (well, for more than 15 minutes). I’ve been to the ophthalmologist several times and was prescribed Restasis for severe dry eye. What surprised me was that the doctor told me that many patients with Celiac Disease also suffer from various “eye issues” (my sad attempt at medical terminology).

I have noticed a common denominator while reading about and researching Celiac Disease… An auto-immune disorder such as ours commonly results in related issues such as depression, migraines, infertility, and bone density problems. The good news is that some of the symptoms are relieved once a person goes gluten free. Not so much with some of the other issues.

I’m one of those people who have developed other issues along with Celiac Disease.

In addition to my poor, parched eyes, let’s talk about MSG for a moment. MSG (or mono-sodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that makes the tasty food we eat even tastier. Yes, there is a huge controversy as to whether MSG is safe, but MSG-laden chips and onion dip every so often can’t be that bad, right? When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I immediately began eating gluten free. Buh-bye loathsome wheat, barley, oats, and rye. I’m proud to say that I have never, ever once cheated — I just can’t. So, I researched, read labels, and called manufacturers to find out what the heck I could safely eat. One glorious day, while doing my food inquest, I realized that Doritos and Cheetos were gluten free!! (I am not a junk food junkie, but I do like fluorescent orange fake cheese as much as the next person.) I remember that day like it was yesterday. Scene 1 – I realized Doritos were gluten free. Scene 2 – I was so excited I ate about half a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Scenes 3, 4, and 5 – I pooped like nobody’s business for days afterwards. Not to mention the night sweats and lower back ache which were typical clues I’d “glutened” myself. But these foods are gluten free, why am I having a reaction? In addition to Celiac, I now had an intolerance to MSG. Even if the food was gluten free, it needed to be MSG-free as well to be safe. Blast. Double Blast.

So, the message I’m sending here is listen to your body. Your body may have been sick for a few months or for several years. Your body will let you know what it can tolerate (and what it can’t). Sometimes we have to dig deeper to find the root of the problem. It’s not always a black or white answer we may find (which drives me batty because there is no gray in my world). Celiac Disease forces us to slow down and become educated in the dietary decisions we make each day.

In the grand scheme of things, fluorescent orange fake cheese stains your fingers anyway.

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